Author Archives: Joel D. Hirst

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).

Reviewing “A Hero of Our Time”

Mikhail Lermontov straddled the mountain ridge of Russian creative culture, between poetry of the ‘intelligentsia’ during the days of high empire and the period of prose that both was led by and inspired the revolutionary time of Russia’s coming of … Continue reading

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700 Pages of Horror

I just finished “The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence”, Martin Meredith’s imposing tome that tells the story of post-colonial, ‘independent’ Africa. There is no way to write this review, except in the spirit that Meredith … Continue reading

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William Saroyan – A Daring Young Man

William Saroyan is the most well-known American/Armenian writer. His family arrived, like so many of the Armenian diaspora, fleeing the genocide at the tail of end of the Ottoman Empire. Saroyan had the seeds of greatness and genius. I think … Continue reading

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Time’s Arrow

I’ve always been concerned with time. How it appears to tick away, methodical and unstoppable. How it has a directionality that is irreversible – “Time’s Arrow”, as Arthur Eddington called it in 1927. “This thing all things devours: Birds, beasts, … Continue reading

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RIP My Best Friend

My wife always tells me I have no friends. But that is not exactly true. I had one. Yes, somebody who stuck by me in the best and worst and all of that. But it was more. As I’m digesting … Continue reading

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On Being a Refugee

I never expected to become so heavy of heart as I have found myself recently. I suppose it should not have come as a surprise, though it did. When we are growing up we are imbued with optimism. Our parents … Continue reading

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The Shadow of the Winter Palace

I can think of no better place to go to understand the current war in Russia than “The Shadow of the Winter Palace” by Edward Crankshaw. In miniscule detail Crankshaw delves into the minutiae and characters and twists and turns … Continue reading

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Journey to the Center of the Earth

Scientists have recently discovered a sixth great ocean, underground, between the upper and lower layers of the Earth’s crust. Jules Verne wrote about this in “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, published in England in 1871. Verne was an … Continue reading

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A Story of Yazidi Genocide

I don’t know if anyone else remembers that raw footage of ISIS clawing its way onto Sinjar Mountain, a twisted madness in their eyes. ISIS had taken over the plains where the Yazidis had lived for generations, and the Yazidis … Continue reading

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The Cider House Rules

I bought this book because the movie was beautiful, and I wanted to read a beautiful book. The depression era produced America’s greatest works of literature. Trauma scares and scars and the most sensitive take to the pen to try … Continue reading

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